t’s not enough to worry about what you feed your baby: Now you have to think about what you’re smearing on his skin, too. A new study has found that babies’ skin can absorb chemicals from lotions, powders, and shampoos. Researchers found that infants who were lathered up with the most cosmetics products were exposed to high levels of phthalates, hormone-altering chemicals that can have effects on a baby’s developing reproductive system. When researchers tested the urine of 163 infants, they found surprisingly high phthalate concentrations: All of the babies had detectable levels, and 80 percent were carrying seven or more different variations of the chemicals. “We found that mothers’ reported use of infant lotion, infant powder, and shampoo was significantly associated” with the amount of phthalates found in the babies’ urine, researchers tell the Los Angeles Times.
Phthalates are used to hold in fragrance and color, but they’re not listed as ingredients on labels, so it’s impossible to tell which cosmetics contain them.